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.If the shuttles were standardmilitary type, eachfile:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis.d%20Empire's%20Fall%2002%20-%20The%20Sundering.html (299 of 324)23-2-2006 20:21:31Williams, Walter Jon - [Dead Empire's Fall 02] - The Sundering would carryeighty Naxids plus their gear, and the total would not land an armed forcevery quickly.They had probably brought in just enough shuttles to secure the ground terminiof the space elevators so that they could send their main force down from thering.Without the ring, this deployment was going to take quite a while.After four trips, the sonic booms ceased.The former government had orderedPage 219 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlthe destruction of all suitable fuel stocks, and the Naxids presumablyreturned to orbit to refuel.Sula wished she knew how much fuel the enemyfleet brought with them.She knew from her readings in Terran history that things such as ground-to-airmissiles had once existed, and she longed for a battery of them.But the Fleetdid not have such things, because the Fleet did not fight from the ground.Andthe police didn t have them, either, because they didn t need missiles toarrest criminals and if there was civil disorder, well, either the policecrushed the riot with their small arms or they called in the Fleet to turn therioters into a cloud of raging plasma.Team 491 sat in the small apartment at Riverside, the video a constant murmurin the background; news when it wasn t Macnamara watching sports.The Naxidshad decreed a full schedule of summer sports, diversion for a populationsuffering from spot shortages and the electricity ration, and Andiron was ontop of the ratings and delighting its fans.Macnamara watched the gamesobsessively, crosslegged before a spread oilcloth on which he disassembled andcleaned the team s weapons.Spence stayed in the bedroom she shared with Sula and used the wall video towatch a long succession of romantic dramas.Sula tried to avoid overhearingany of the dialogue.She figured she knew pretty well how those romancesturned out in real life.Sonic booms rattled the windows again, sixteen landings altogether, and thenthe booms stopped.TheNaxids had probably run out of whatever fuel they d scavenged.Sula picturedNaxid constabulary pouring into some chemical refinery and demanding theyalter their output.Sula worked her way through three volumes of mathematical puzzles and a volumeof history Europe in the Age of Kings before her comm chirped with a textmessage from Blanche for a breakfast meeting at 05:01 at the Allergy-FreeRestaurant in Smallbridge, a district of the Lower Town.Sula looked at themessage and felt her skin prickle hot with a sudden rush of blood.Trying tocontrol the sudden urge to pant for breath, she rose from her seat and walkedwith care toward where her team waited, their eyes on her.Sula s feet seemedto sink into the floorboards beneath her feet, as if she were walking onpillows. It s tomorrow morning, she said. Nine hours from now.Mr.and Madame Guei held hands as they sat on the sofa, their eyes wide asthey watched Action Teamfile:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis.d%20Empire's%20Fall%2002%20-%20The%20Sundering.html (300 of 324)23-2-2006 20:21:31Williams, Walter Jon - [Dead Empire's Fall 02] - The Sundering491 turn their pleasant apartment into an ambush site.Their infant son dozedon his father s lap, and their nine-year-old daughter, having rapidly grownbored with the three heavily armed soldiers who had appeared in their quartersbefore sunrise, played games on the video wall.Sula had told the Gueis that they were allowed to do nothing else with thevideo wall, or any other form of communication in the house.They wereparticularly urged not to call the police.The action team was there to fightNaxid rebels, not to interfere with their lives, but their liveswould beinterfered with if necessary.The Gueis complied quietly.They seemed to comprehend easily enough that noone had given them a vote in whether their apartment was going to be turnedinto a battlefield.The drive to the Axtattle Parkway was accomplished in the dead of night andwithout trouble.Due to the electricity rationing, there was very littleactivity on the streets at that hour.Somewhat to Sula s surprise, they evenfound a legal parking space half a block from their destination.Page 220 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlAnother team had arrived before them, had awakened the building manager, shownhim their warrants, and had him surrender his passkeys.They now held themanager and his family incommunicado in one of the other apartments.One ofthe advance team let Group 491 into the building, and their team leader letthem into the Gueis apartment, where they quietly woke the family, got themdressed, and assembled them in their front room.Normally the teams might have taken positions on the roof, but the gabledmansard roofs common in the district did not permit such a thing.Not only wasthere no place to hide on the roofs, but a misstep would have pitched them allinto the street below.Once in the Gueis apartment, Team 491 opened their duffels and began theirtransformation into soldiers.On Sula s head was a helmet with a transparentfaceplate onto which combat displays could be projected, and she wore on hertorso a midnight-colored carapace that would protect her against small-arms fire and shrapnel.Over it all was a cape that projected activecamouflage: it was like a giant video screen that showed whatever was on thereverse side.The image wasn t perfect, and tended to waver with the folds ofthe cape, but if she stayed still it would fool the eye even at close ranges,and there was a hood she could pull over her head.Each team member carried a pistol that fired silent, subsonic ammunition, arifle, three grenades, and a combat knife.Each carried a gas mask in case theNaxids threw gas at them, and Macnamara assembled a large, tripod-mountedmachine gun on the dining table that had been shoved under the apartment smain window, one that would blast vehicles below with a torrent of fire fromthe quaint gable that slightly overhung the walk below.Macnamara didn t evenhave to expose himself to accomplish this: he could control the gun with aremote pad, or even command it to shoot at anything that moved in a givenarea.file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis.d%20Empire's%20Fall%2002%20-%20The%20Sundering.html (301 of 324)23-2-2006 20:21:31Williams, Walter Jon - [Dead Empire's Fall 02] - The SunderingBelow, as the eastern horizon began to glow with a pale jasper light, Sulalooked over the ammat trees and watched the traffic move up and down theparkway, mostly heavy trucks bringing goods to the predawn city.The bridgeover Highway 16 had sculpted iron railings ornamented in a bright alloy with alobed, scalloped design that Sula recognized as Torminel in origin.The elevenAction Teams of GroupBlanche were hidden in four of the buildings overlooking the ambush site,ready to pump death down on the stunned survivors of the bombing.Sula s nerves gave a warning tingle as she saw a truck come into view directlyacross the parkway from her on Highway 16, a twelve-wheeler that crept slowlydown the road as it dipped beneath the broad bridge, and then didn t come outthe other side [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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